Tag: emergency

The emergency department is no place to be told you have cancer

This issue of CMAJ features Brenner and colleagues’1 projections for cancer diagnoses in Canada in 2024. Despite overall declines in cancer incidence and mortality, population growth and aging will drive an increase in the absolute number of people receiving a diagnosis of cancer this year. This is a daunting prospect, considering that many people with worrisome signs or symptoms of cancer already face circuitous and frustrating paths to obtain a diagnosis and start treatment. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer in an emergency department is becoming routine in Canada, which highlights the failure of health care systems to support adequate primary care–initiated pathways for diagnosis of suspected cancer. One in 5 people in Canada do not have a regular primary care provider and, even among those who do, many report poor access to primary care.2 Moreover, wait times for diagnostic imaging vary widely, and some patients wait months for diagnostic imaging for suspected cancer.3 We discuss how expanding access to streamlined paths for cancer diagnosis is critical to ensure the gains that have been achieved in cancer screening and treatment are not lost amid inefficiencies in health care systems.

Between 2012 and 2017, 26.1% of patients with cancer in Ontario received their diagnosis as part of an emergent presentation requiring urgent hospital admission as a consequence of an emergency department visit.4 As emergency physicians, we perceive that this proportion has increased substantially in the pandemic recovery period. People who have an emergency department visit associated with their cancer diagnosis are often older, do not have access to primary care, come from minority backgrounds, or have lower socioeconomic status than those who do not have an emergency department visit associated with their cancer diagnosis.5 They also have worse cancer-related outcomes, such as higher stage at diagnosis and

Carberry Health Centre’s emergency department to re-open

Three new physicians have been hired to support the reopening of the emergency department at Carberry Health Centre.

Premier Wab Kinew said today, “When a rural community loses its physician, the impacts go beyond health care – it’s a blow to the economic vitality and future of the town. The previous government turned its back on rural health care, and in the case of Carberry, it meant losing their local doctor and emergency department. Our government worked hard to bring physician coverage back to Carberry and we’re glad to see the emergency department reopen so families can get the care they need.”

In September 2023, a contract for Carberry’s physician was allowed to expire, prompting the Carberry Health Centre to fully close its emergency department, noted the premier. At the time, Kinew made a personal commitment to support Carberry in finding staff to help reopen the emergency department.

Three new family physicians have been hired on a rotating basis to provide health-care services in Carberry, allowing the emergency department to reopen. Emergency services were available as of April 27 with physicians in place as of May 10.

Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara said, “The people of Carberry’s spirit and determination to restore their health services made an impact on our government. We listened to their needs and worked alongside the community over months to bring physicians back to this community. The hard work has paid off. Securing these doctors mean the emergency department can reopen, seniors can get the care they deserve and families have access to primary health care.”

The physicians will also provide care to residents in the community’s 36-bed long-term care facility and individuals receiving inpatient care at the health centre. Regular physician services also mean residents can resume making appointments for their primary

Reopening of Carberry emergency department ‘light at the end of the tunnel’: health advocate

Dozens of Carberry residents gathered outside their local emergency department on Friday and applauded as government officials announced they’ve secured more health-care staff, enabling the long-closed space to reopen.

Manitoba Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara and Premier Wab Kinew announced three physicians have been hired and will work on rotation to support the reopening of the emergency department at the Carberry Health Centre, located about 160 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

“Locally, provincially and even federally, we’ve sadly seen our health-care system crumble,” Loretta Oliver, a member of a local health action community group, said at the news conference.

“The journey that has brought us to today’s announcement has not been easy. And in fact it has been at times so very disheartening…. Today’s announcement is the first major step in a positive direction.”

The ER was closed indefinitely nearly nine months ago, after a staff physician’s contract expired.

Two nurse practitioners continued to provide care at a walk-in clinic four times a week in Carberry, a community in the rural municipality of North Cypress-Langford, which is home to about 6,000 people.

Carberry Health Centre is a 10-bed facility that also has three-dozen personal care home beds, a clinic and an ER. It also offers diagnostic, rehabilitation and home care services.

WATCH | Advocate praises province for reopening ER:

Carberry health advocate applauds ER reopening

Local health advocate Loretta Oliver thanked Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew and Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara Friday, as the province announced physicians had been hired to enable the Carberry Health Centre’s emergency department to reopen after a months-long closure.

Data obtained by CBC through a freedom of information request earlier this year said the Carberry Health Centre was closed 10 times last year, for the equivalent of over 141 days — one of several rural or remote facilities

Minister of Health comments on Fort St. John Hospital emergency department closure

Adrian Dix in 2024. (Adrian Dix, Facebook)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Minister of Health Adrian Dix says emergency room closures like the one impacting the Fort St. John Hospital Thursday are often a result of one or two people not being able to come into work.

Northern Beat founder Fran Yanor asked Dix questions for Energeticcity during an interview Thursday afternoon. The interview comes after Fort St. John’s hospital closed its emergency department from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on May 2nd due to “challenges with physician coverage.”

“I think what happens on individual days is we are dependent from time to time on one or two people,” Dix said.

“When we don’t have a standard, we can’t keep the emergency room open, and that’s what happened [Wednesday, May 1st]. In Fort St. John, it happened very late in the process. People called in and were unable to come work, which is absolutely legitimate, but we had to take that decision, and Northern Health had to take that decision, as a result.”

Dix said one initiative the province is using to try to stop closures caused by limited staffing is employing teams of “locums,” doctors and nurses who can fill in for others at a regional level.

A locum is a person who temporarily fulfills the duty of another.

In a statement provided to Energeticcity, Northern Health said locum workers are part of its strategy to improve overall staffing.

“In Fort St. John, we are continuing to aggressively recruit among local and locum physicians and have recently identified additional local physicians with an interest in potentially providing emergency department coverage,” the health authority said. 

“Work is ongoing to refine incentives and other supports to make emergency department coverage more attractive to both local medical staff and available locum

Racism, discrimination may lead to First Nations patients leaving emergency rooms: Alberta study

Systemic racism and inequity in health care may be contributing to why First Nations patients in Alberta disproportionately leave emergency departments without being seen, or against medical advice, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The peer-reviewed paper builds on a previous one that found nearly seven per cent of First Nations patients’ visits to emergency departments ended in them leaving without care, compared to nearly four per cent of visits by non-First Nations patients.

The team examined provincial administrative data for more than 11 million emergency department visits in Alberta from 2012 to 2017, controlling for patients’ ages, geography, visit reasons and facility types.

“First Nations people, when we control for all of these other factors, have higher odds of leaving without completing care,” said Patrick McLane, an adjunct associate professor in the University  of Alberta’s department of emergency medicine. He co-authored the study.

The researchers also asked 64 health directors, emergency-care providers and First Nations patients to comment on their quantitative findings through sharing circles, a focus group and telephone interviews from 2019 to 2022.

A man in a white shirt sits in an office.
Patrick McLane, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Alberta, has been studying the quality of emergency care for First Nations patients. (Peter Evans/CBC)

McLane co-led the study with Lea Bill, the executive director of the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre. Elders and First Nations partner organizations helped shape the study and interpret its results.

Racism and stereotypes

Study participants, while commenting on the quantitative findings, raised a number of reasons why First Nations patients leave emergency departments without receiving care.

They shared stories of providers discriminating against First Nations patients and relying on stereotypes about them.

One participant, who was quoted in the study, reported walking out of one health care facility and visiting another 

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center’s new emergency department will open in July

After two years of construction, the first part of a redesigned and expanded emergency department at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver will open July 16.

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has been treating patients in a temporary emergency room but will switch to the newly finished space. Then, the final phase of construction will begin.

When completed in 2025, the new emergency department will encompass 37,000 square feet, with 56 treatment rooms, 11 transitional rooms, four trauma rooms, 24 observation rooms and eight ambulance ports.

“The initial emergency department was built in the late ’80s, early ’90s. We’ve had one significant remodel since then, but the population has grown,” Emergency Services Medical Director Jason Hanley said. “The emergency department facility in general just needed an upgrade in terms of room size, and making it look respectable to the point that our patients deserve.”

The process

On Friday afternoon, a boom lift raised a construction crew to work on the building’s glass panes. Inside, patient rooms are double the size of those in the old emergency department. In addition to treatment and trauma rooms, the building will include dedicated pediatric rooms. The space will also include an entry with adjacent parking for safe traffic flow.

Open communication between all team members was imperative for the success of the project, said Rick Sanders, PeaceHealth’s director of planning and design.

“That’s been the key to the success: open communication, people working back and forth and making sure that we’re taking care of the community that we serve,” Sanders said. “From the very, very beginning, we were making sure that we were taking care of our caregivers. We had a lot of input. We did mock-ups of the rooms, and we put sticky notes everywhere with ideas.”

The new building will improve patient

‘Not acceptable’: UBC medical students voice emergency room concerns

Two University of British Columbia medical students are speaking out for their future, their fellow community members and potential patients.

UBC medical students Sandra Smiley and Christina Schwarz spoke with Global News regarding the current state of B.C.’s health-care system — especially regarding emergency health departments.

“Things are getting worse rather than getting better in emergency departments as we speak,” Sandra Smiley said.

“The system as (it) is, is not acceptable to patients or staff,” Schwarz said. “The further we get into our studies, the harder it’s going to get until we are the physicians that have to make those really tough decisions because our system is failing patients.”

The failure, the students say, is attributed to overcrowding, understaffing and violence in B.C. emergency departments.


Click to play video: 'Patient spends 9 days in Vancouver Island hospital hallway'


Patient spends 9 days in Vancouver Island hospital hallway


The pair is part of the UBC medicine PAC whose recent paper, Enough Waiting: A Call to Resuscitate BC Emergency Departments, says the median time that in-patients are kept in emergency departments is about 17.5 hours.

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“I’ve seen people boarded in the emergency department for hours, days sometimes,” Smiley said.


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“When people have to suffer through these wait times, they lose faith in the system,” Schwarz added.

The students met with the province earlier this month and brought forward a list of remedies that include increased capacity for primary care, and better long-term care and supportive housing options to reduce hospital stays.

“I think they’ve got great suggestions and we will look at anything they bring forward as they are seeing the front line of the health-care system

Emergency rooms are a safety net. But they no longer feel safe

Opinion: As medical students who will soon be responsible for patient care in B.C.’s emergency departments, we are alarmed by unsafe conditions

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A lethal combination of overcrowding, understaffing and violence is leading to suffering in hospital emergency departments across British Columbia. Some people are worse affected than others, widening health disparities.

As medical students who will soon be responsible for patient care in these emergency departments, we are alarmed. That’s why we’re calling on the provincial government to act swiftly to address the unsafe conditions.

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Prince Rupert emergency department closed for 3rd night in a row – BC

For the third night in a row, the emergency department at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital was closed on Tuesday.

Those needing emergency health services in the coastal B.C. city had to wait until 8 a.m. Wednesday for the reopening, or travel two hours to Terrace.

The sudden closure at the emergency room happened at 3 p.m., with North Health issuing a closure alert at 3:03 p.m. on its Facebook page.

Northern Health said the closure was due to “challenges with physician coverage.”

“The timing of interruptions is subject to change, as we are continually working to ensure physician and nursing staff coverage for emergency department services,” Northern Health said in a social media post.


The latest health and medical news
emailed to you every Sunday.


The latest health and medical news
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Emergency rooms in Masset, Prince Rupert, Hazelton and Kitimat have all had to temporarily close their doors several times recently due to shortages of either nurses or physicians.

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A rural health-care advocate told Global News there needs to be better contingency plans to prevent emergency room closures.

Paul Adams, with BC Rural Health Network, said closures are a symptom of a larger systemic issue that impacts all British Columbians.

“We actually have these challenges where people have to go super long distances to seek care,” he said.

“That puts additional strain on emergency services for ambulance supply. Then we see a lack of ambulances for those who dial 911. That has a trickle-down effect.

“These patients make their way to emergency departments in these larger centres.

P.E.I. news: New mental health, addictions emergency department


Prince Edward Island will open its first mental health and addictions emergency department next week.


Anyone who needs urgent mental health, addiction and substance care or “clinical support in times of crisis” can visit the clinic.


“The toughest part for someone experiencing a mental health, addiction or substance use crisis is often just walking through the door,” writes Leslie Warren, Health PEI’s director of Mental Health and Addictions Acute and Complex Care, in a government release.


“We are proud of our partnership with Queen Elizabeth Hospital to strengthen how we care for Islanders by making that initial encounter a more positive one in a dedicated space with supportive mental health and addictions staff.”


The new facility is the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, according to the Prince Edward Island Government.


It is part of the province’s efforts to make urgent mental health and addictions services more accessible to islanders, the government says.


“Having a space that is quiet, that is not in the midst of all the emergency department hustle and bustle, and medical emergencies, I think it’s going to be, really, a game changer,” said Dr. Javier Salabarria, provincial medical director for Mental Health and Addictions, during a Friday news conference.


The new facility cost $9.5 million and will provide people with mental health, addiction or substance use crises with 24/7 access to care. Staff at the facility are trained health-care providers who will “assess, stabilize, and manage urgent care needs,” the government says.


Health-care teams at the new facility will also create treatment plans with patients and connect them to other mental health, addiction or substance use services.


The department shares the same public entrance as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) emergency department.


“Patients will

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